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The Producer

Most of you reading this book are probably planning to produce your first feature film on your own. After all, you produced a short film (or a few), so how different is a feature? Well, the answer to that depends entirely on both your confidence and experience levels. At the end of the day, if you’re a low-budget indie filmmaker, then you are your own film producer (be default) because you are in charge of everything from pre-production to distribution, from hiring the crew to managing the release schedule. A producer is responsible for making sure that the film gets delivered on time and under budget, and for every short film you’ve ever made, that role was most likely handled by you. So, if you’ve worked on enough sets, and you are confident in your ability to do the work yourself, then you probably don't need to hire a producer, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t actually need a producer – all you need to do is get creative with credits and offer a Producer’s credit to friends, family or team-members for doing some extra work behind the scenes.

A producer credit, and the responsibilities that come with it, should only be given to someone who has a vested interest in the success of your picture, someone who is as invested in it as you are, and someone who is willing to put in the work and save you money, time, and resources. Lots of younger filmmakers recruit their mom or dad as producers because they are less likely to interfere with their creative process, but I have a much more lenient approach to giving producer’s credits to those who actually deserve it (especially when it comes to your first feature film). During the making of my first film, I agreed to give a certain vendor a producer’s credit because he gave me free access to lots of high-end gear that otherwise would have cost me thousands of dollars. On another project, I gave an actress I trusted (emphasis on trusted) a producer’s credit and a producer’s role when it seemed like the movie wasn’t going to happen without the extra hand. Her stepping in as a producer and taking on some of those responsibilities (without compensation) helped to ultimately make the movie we wanted, together. When shooting a super-low-budget short, I gave my swing a producer’s credit in return for a day of helping me organize and obtain shooting permits in New York City. You can use the Producer, Co-Producer, or Associate Producer credit to reward people who have a vested interest in the success of your film and convince them to come aboard and offer a helping hand.

Katie Vincent was so instrumental in making the filming of Pickings so smoothly. I felt she deserved a producer credit for her work.

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